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I'm very fond of this strip, especially for the way Madblood's expressions and poses came out. Also for the picture of a pimply young Madblood on the wall. I probably could have gotten away with doing more strips of Madblood just hanging out at his mom's house, trying to get his plans of world conquest and miscellaneous revenge back off the ground.

Madblood and Dave are always this close to making friends, but it never quite works out.

Madblood's version of events may not be 100% accurate. Especially the part where Helen was "his woman." But look, he's trying to be friends! Give him some credit!

I like to think that Lovelace's emancipation involved the assistance of Project Skin Horse.

I've said this before, but I feel bad about Lovelace getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop in Narbonic. She's manhandled, jilted, and killed, and in the end the only bright side is that she and Dave can finally bond over being ruthlessly experimented upon. Good for her, taking the initiative to get the heck out of this comic.

I was never totally happy with the resolution between Lovelace and Dave here, but, like Dave says, there's not a whole lot that can be said to make it better.

It's Mell in her pinstripe lawyer suit! Excellent! And, yes, Lovelace can't sign the papers because she's a hologram. Mell might be a little confused on this issue.

How good is this strip? It's got Helen in a towel, and I only had to draw two panels. That's my definition of an excellent strip.

I drew my own bathroom, more or less. Helen's has more hearts all over the place.

Aw, there's a photo behind them of the whole gang in happier days. Or, if not happier days, less complicated ones. I used the photo again in a Narbonic story I did for the Couscous Collective's SPACE anthology, currently out of print but someday to return in omnibus form.

Is this seriously the next-to-last week? How did that happen? I'm going to miss writing these little notes every day.

53 comments:
Leon Arnott (l) says: Monday:

Madblood is somewhat stretching the meaning of "arch-" here.

Having this be Madblood's final resting place is, well, kind of depressing. At least the world's safe from his malfeasance, I guess.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

@Leon, what makes you think this is the end for Madblood?  He will recover, as he always has.  Where will his next lair be?  Something mountainous and forbidding, perhaps ... but handy for the buses.

joe dreyfuss (jdreyfuss) says:

It's the Original Series/Next Generation schism. They just can't bridge that gap.

Jacob Haller (jwgh) says:

Are microwave s'mores an actual thing?

Jim Crider (autojim) says:

I was out working the Australian V8 Supercars races this weekend, so I didn't get to see last Saturday's strip until this morning. That's the one proudly framed and hanging on my office (well, cubicle) wall. Shaenon ran the picture I sent her a while back. :)

mickey f (other_mickeyf) says:

You could *definitely* have had more strips of Madblood just hanging out at his mom's house!

Wayne (wayne) says:

"Madbood and Son", assuming she hasn't divorced Lupin's father and re-married and changed her name.  I only wish you could use the device of Howard's mother in Big Bang Theory: a disembodied voice.

Sam Daniel (samhdaniel) says:

I'm obviously out-of-touch: I had to google "jet-puffed"....

Chris (khade) says:

Jet-puffed is sort of ubiquious, most marshmallows I'm aware of had it done to them.

John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

I kind of suspect that Madblood appreciates having nemeses more than he would having friends.

Sam Ashley (evilmidnightlurker) says:

Dare I bring "kismeses" into this discussion?

The Auld Grump (theauldgrump) says:

And, to his credit, Dave accepts the gesture. :)

James Rice (jhrice) says:

Years ago, when Skin Horse started I predicted that Lovelace would show up.   So far I've been wrong, but with two small glimmers of hope.

Leon Arnott (l) says: Tuesday:

Silent penultimate panels: 58.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Please Please Me", The Beatles)

It's now the time to settle old scores,
While, in the kitchen, Mother makes s'mores!
What's that, you say?
You won't parlay
With me today?
Then will you play
Parcheesi, with me,
For maybe one round?

My A.I.'s now emancipa-ting ...
It's me you keep humilia-ting!
Destroyed by base,
You're in my face!
Before you race
To see Lovelace,
Parcheesi, with me,
For maybe one round?

joe dreyfuss (jdreyfuss) says:

Being the sentient nonhumant entity equivalent to CPS, Skin Horse is the most likely to get involved. If she can convince them that Madblood maltreated her in the course of her job, the Machine Union would probable be willing to help and they almost certainly have deeper pockets for representation than an understaffed government bureau with no lawyers.

Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says: I think Lovelace and Moustachio the Thinkonium could have a very interesting relationship, were it not for Gavotte. OTOH, perhaps Moustachio would think of Lovelace as a granddaughter of sorts. Of an evil, tried-to-take-over-the-world sort.
Wayne (wayne) says:

I'm sorry, but.... Parchesi?  I'd think Madblood would at least be a fan of Munchkin.  I just spent a week and a half occasionally playing board games with a friend who had a stroke in early March, and he handled it, along with Hey! That's My Fish, Qwirkle, and Flash Point.

Madblood really needs to up his game.  And with something like Munchkin, he might get some much better inspiration.

John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

I've been hoping Skin Horse would cross paths with Zeta and Foot.

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

Inasmuch as Madblood's own evil creation, Foot, has its own Munchkin card, Madblood could not play Munchkin without breaking the fourth wall. And I know how much yinz hate that.
John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

Randy Milholland's own evil creation, the Redneck Tree, has its own Munchkin card, and I've seen Randy play Munchkin.

(Okay, technically, I've seen Randy decline to play Munchkin, but it's snappier if I edit reality a bit. And I don't think his reasons for declining had anything to do with fourth-wall breaking.)

But Madblood's Munchkin and Catan and so on, along with his archaic game consoles, probably all met the same fate as his Arctic base, so he's likely reduced to what his mom has in her closet.

Also, last time I played Munchkin, I won riding a fire-breathing ur-gerbil of doom. Thank you, Shaenon!

Chic Geek (chic_geek) says:

What? Foot has a Munchkin card! And fire breathing ur-gerbils of doom? Which edition of Munchkin? I must own it!

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Hey, and Lovelace has a more positive interaction with Mell than almost anyone else Ms. Kelly has ever met.
John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

"Killing" and "eating" are forms of interaction!

The ur-gerbil Shaenon drew is in Need for Steed. The fire-breathing and ...of doom were added buffs. Not sure where to find Foot.

David Blake (vivavi) says:

She's sure taking it all in stride.  In the future, VP Mell pretty much said Dave's last relationship was with Lovelace.  I wonder if it was actually between Dave's digital self and Lovelace's backup.  They would have had that much more in common, and could have... 'interacted' with each other on a whole new level.

joe dreyfuss (jdreyfuss) says:

It's clear she is no longer capable of loving him, but can still be friends. I guess that's what makes Helen and Dave's relationship that much more special.

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says: Foot is in the Narrow S Cape Munchkin deck. The ur-gerbil is in the Need for Steed. I'm sitting by the phone patiently waiting for Steve Jackson to need some cobras.
joe dreyfuss (jdreyfuss) says:

Cute baby cobras that just want a hug?

Tim Eisele (tceisele) says:

Hm. So, when Dave got killed, he had a spirit that went to Hell, so he remembers it all. Does/did Lovelace have a spirit too? And if so, is it recoverable? And, if it is recoverable, does this mean that in the Narbonic/Skin Horse universe, it would be possible to recover from computer crashes by holding a seance?

Jon Stout (brasswatchman) says: This sort of thing makes me wonder if Dave might have more empathy for the average henchman, having gone through the same sort of horrors himself. Eh... probably not, though.
James Rice (jhrice) says:

I've always thought that was Lovelace's best line.

Leon Arnott (l) says: Thursday:

"I'm going open source" is such a lovely "moving away to a new career" style parting sentence from Lovelace - even if it doesn't completely make sense.

Oh god I just noticed the christmas decorations.
Tetra Valent (4_valent) says:

Open source??  Whoa, Lovelace, be careful what you ask for.  Five months ago you thought having Dave "streamline" your code was "harmless fun".  Letting hundreds of geeks you've never met have their way with you sounds more like gang rape....

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

@Tetra: Any geek tries something with her that she doesn't like, she'll wipe out his OS and replace it with PC-DOS (cyber equivalent of pepper spray).

joe dreyfuss (jdreyfuss) says:

Ah, part of her 50 recommended annual hours of pro bono work, no doubt.

David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

I like how Dave's apparently working up to an "I'll save you!" declaration, before Mell squelches it.

John Ames (commodorejohn) says: Well, we all know what this means: eleventy billion nearly-identical but mutually incompatible forks of Lovelace running around...
John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

... and I can't see how that could possibly be a bad thing.

Tetra Valent (4_valent) says:

@John Ames: Reproduction, Lovelace style. But remember, there's only the one projector.

Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says:

Wish I could do that. KaZap!

David Blake (vivavi) says:

Ha!  I love this strip, it's so cute.  Dave's behavior is actually completely inappropriate; the fact that Helen doesn't find a way to destroy him right there is proof that he at least has a chance.

Leon Arnott (l) says: Friday:

What is ridiculous about this scenario is not just that Dave A) chose this to be the first meeting of his former lovernemesis, but that B) he isn't even wet.

Also I'm feeling extremely embarrassed that I didn't notice Dave had finally slipped into a white coat this week. He really is Dr. Davenport now. R.I.P. Flannel 2000-2006
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

He's finding her with SCIENCE!

Mark Chapman (aardvark86) says:

"Please, underestimate me by assuming I didn't mean to do precisely that."

joe dreyfuss (jdreyfuss) says:

Nothing he hasn't seen before. :D

Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says: "I had a teleporter and a towel. It was easy."
Marni Rachmiel (marniferous) says:

Flannel to lab coat! Thanks for pointing that out, Leon! I had to go back and check exactly when that happened. I wonder if there's something about him coming out on top with the Dave Conspiracy that is that final rite of passage for him into Mad Empowerment....

Tetra Valent (4_valent) says:

Heh heh heh.

Nice eyeball plant!  I want one.

You can keep writing these notes: Skin Horse Director's Cut!

Mark Chapman (aardvark86) says:

I'll miss the daily notes, but hey, as Tetra said, Skin Horse awaits. You wouldn't even have to wait until SH is (Heaven forfend) finished. There must be a way to start an annotated "Skin Horse Classic" stream.

Sam Ashley (evilmidnightlurker) says:

But it'd be full of spoilers!

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

We could make it a secret club ... the Skin Horse Society Having Secret Handshakes ... or for short, "SHSHSH".

joe dreyfuss (jdreyfuss) says:

Sounds very hush-hush(-hush).

Shane Wegner (shanewegner) says:

Mell with the Photo Bomb! Mell likes bombs.

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The education bestowed on Shaenon K. Garrity by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged. ... full profile